“Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute reported that only one in four Australian undergraduate students are admitted into a course solely based on their ATAR result.” – Brad Fry (2018).

In more recent years, universities are looking further than academic achievements in accepting students into courses. Attributes, skills and experience in young people reflecting maturity and experience, are becoming more of a focus. La Trobe University recognises the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and community service in accepting university applicants and offering places early through their ASPIRE program, a program that recognises students’ achievements outside the classroom and through the Duke of Edinburgh Award. The Australian Catholic University has a similar program, the Community Achievers Program where university places are offered to Year 12 students as early as August. The Australian National University in Canberra are encouraging students to have gained further experience in community service and are recognising the Duke of Edinburgh Award as a benchmark in the broader experiences of their students.

St Catherine’s students have the opportunity to gain leadership skills through our Community Service program.

For our Year 9 and 10 students, this journey of community service begins with the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Leadership Diploma. The Duke of Edinburgh Award is introduced to our Year 9 students at the start of the year. The awards are student driven, although through the guidance of Skye Stansfield, Year 9 and 10 Programs Coordinator and with a focus on the Duke of Edinburgh, our students are prompted through the requirements of these awards.

“The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is an internationally recognised program for young people, building their skills to equip them for life and work. By creating opportunities for young people to develop skills, get physically active, give service and experience adventure, the Award can play a critical role in their development.” – Duke of Edinburgh Australia.

Several St Catherine’s students have achieved the requirements for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Many of the areas in the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards are reflective of the requirements of the St Catherine’s Leadership Diploma. The Leadership Diploma has a variety of requirements that are to be completed during Year 9 and 10. This program provides the scaffolding around students’ understanding and experience of leadership through participation in our co-curricular program, Community Service and Beyond Boundaries Programs. For our students to be eligible for leadership opportunities or captaincies in Year 12, they are required to have completed their Leadership Diploma.

Some of our Year 11 and 12 girls choose to go further with the acquisition of more experience and achieve the requirements for their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Several St Catherine’s students have achieved their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award since 1990 and they will be recognised in the creation of an honour board in 2019.

Alongside the academic focus in the classroom, we encourage and mentor our girls to gain further leadership skills and experience in programs and opportunities in their formative years. These additional awards and achievements value add to the attributes and skills our students have as they approach the completion of Year 12.

How is your daughter progressing with her Duke of Edinburgh Award? I encourage you to talk about these opportunities with your daughter, no matter how early and start the conversation.


Mrs Gina Peele, Director of Student Programs